Cook Fit | Eat Fit: All About Electrolytes

On Saturday, October 1 we continued with the second of our series Cook Fit | Eat Fit: Just What the Doctor Ordered. This time, we explored the world of electrolytes and sports drinks, trying to find out if the much hyped sports drinks and fancy waters really adds up to benefits for your body. First of all, we had to learn more about our cells to understand what electrolytes are and why we need them, so University of Queensland - Ochsner Clinical School medical students Mae Lindner and Lauren Slattery led the charge. They explained that the human body is a carefully balanced system, run on electronic signals that control everything we do. Electrolytes are the minerals in our body that have a charge and regulate the balance of fluid, inside and outside of our cells. The most common electrolytes that we focused on were sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Different balances of these minerals can have a great effect on our overall health. For example, consuming too much salt (Eat Fit NOLA's Registered Dietitian Rebecca Miller recommended a maximum of 8 tsp a day!) can cause hypertension because there is too much salt fluid in your blood, upsetting the balance of your body's fluid makeup, and making it harder for your heart to pump. Luckily, the doctors and nutritionists offered a few easy ways to reduce the imbalance. The easiest is to just drop your salt intake, which apparently has the same effect as taking medicine. Another way to tackle the problem is to eat more potassium, which offsets the effects of high sodium by restoring fluid balance to your cells. Besides the classic banana, other potassium-rich foods include leafy greens and root vegetables.

One of the ways that we lose electrolytes is by sweatin, either from exercise or just walking around in New Orleans most days of the year. Although we are told constantly by ads and marketing from sports drink companies that we need to replenish those electrolytes with neon colored beverages, it turns out that most of us simply need to keep eating to restore any loss. It turns out that unless you're a professional athlete and constantly sweating your days away with total physical exertion, you're getting enough electrolytes in your normal diet to keep you internally balanced.

While we were examining our cellular health, Chef Pauly Dauterive from SWEGS Kitchen prepared a couple of delicious beverages with all the right flavors for the fall. sing his amazing cold press juicer, he combined oranges, lemons, apples, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric to make his Autumn Juice, a tasty and healthy drink full of minerals. Then, he turned on his high power blender to mix our new favorite Pumpkin Spice Smoothie, which included pumpkin purée, banana, a touch of agave, coconut milk, whey for protein, and a splash of vanilla.

These drinks will certainly help you replace any electrolyte loss, while tasting amazing. If you're not quite ready to give up your sports drink, you can make your own by watering down a standard commercial drink. Or puree a banana with some salt and water. fter all, it's just about minerals and balance.

Our next Cook Fit | Eat Fit program will address the mysterious but essential microbiome, with tips on how to cook and eat your way to a healthier life.